An Explanation of all Four Facebook Ad Types [Chart]

Facebook ads differ from almost every other type of internet ad in at least two important ways:

  • Facebook ads target the interests expressed by each user in their profile details, the Pages and Groups they like, and updates they post on their timeline (new job, new relationship, new baby, etc).
  • Facebook Ads also scale word-of-mouth marketing to a massive degree by leveraging the recommendations between friends – a network of 140 billion connections Facebook calls the “social graph”.

Here’s a breakdown of the four different types of Facebook ads, with an example of each, plus a handy chart at the end of this post:

1. Marketplace Ads

An Explanation of all Four Facebook Ad Types [Chart]
A Marketplace Ad is an ad located in the right-hand sidebar of Facebook on desktop browsers (not available on mobile devices).

Marketplace Ads allow you to include a headline, body copy and image. If you’re promoting a Facebook Page, a call to action for liking the page appears below the ad.

Marketplace ads can be targeted to any subset of Facebook users.

2. Sponsored Stories

An Explanation of all Four Facebook Ad Types [Chart]
A Sponsored Story is a story about a Page, event or app that appears in the Newsfeed (web and mobile). The content for Sponsored Stories is derived from stories generated from people who talk about your Page or RSVP to your Event.

For example, if you’re advertising an event, stories about people RSVPing to the event would appear as a Sponsored Story in the Newsfeed.

3. Page Post Ads

An Explanation of all Four Facebook Ad Types [Chart]

Page Post Ads are posts from your Facebook Page that you can promote to existing fans, friends of fans, and even non-fans. These ads appear in the Newsfeed and in the sidebar of Facebook (on desktop).

The main difference between Page Post Ads and Sponsored Stories is that Page Post Ads can be shown to anyone on Facebook, regardless of their connection to your Page.

4. Promoted Posts

An Explanation of all Four Facebook Ad Types [Chart]
Promoted Posts are Facebook’s answer to the novice marketer who may not have any experience using Facebook ads.

Promoted Posts are Facebook Page updates that you can only promote to existing fans or fans and friends of fans, simply by using the Promote feature located under every update on your timeline.

The other main difference is that you only pay for reach based on a flat rate for various different ranges of people. In many cases, Promoted Posts seem to have the highest click-through rate of all ad types.

An Explanation of all Four Facebook Ad Types [Chart]

An Explanation of all Four Facebook Ad Types [Chart]
Click here for a larger downloadable version

Advertising Objectives

It goes without saying that before you spend any money on Facebook ads, determine what your goals and objectives are.

  • Do you want more Facebook Page fans?
  • Do you want more exposure for your Page posts?
  • How will you use ads to build your email list?
  • Who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to do?

Having very clear answers to these questions will help you spend your ad money wisely.

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  1. Great post! Facebook advertising can be a daunting task, especially to nonprofits with limited budgets who want to ensure the highest return on investment. Lot of useful info here, thanks for sharing!